It is understood that POSCO, South Korea's largest steelmaker, has sought import assistance from Mexico after failing to persuade the United States to lift its steel quota restrictions. According to the Korean steel giant, the company has asked the Mexican government to continue raising its import quota for cold-rolled steel sheets for automobiles over the next five years. Specifically, POSCO requires import quotas to increase from 547,500 tons this year to 585,000 tons next year, 606,000 tons in 2021, 633,000 tons in 2022 and 677,000 tons in 2023. In addition, Hyundai Steel, a Korean steelmaker, has made similar requests. The Mexican government is expected to respond within this year.
The move follows Washington's announcement to lift a year-long steel and aluminum tariff on Mexico and Canada while maintaining quota restrictions on South Korean steel. To avoid imposing a 25% steel tariff from the United States, South Korea must keep its shipments below 70% of its annual average.
In 2009, POSCO opened a continuous galvanizing line in Altamira, Tamaulipas, Eastern Mexico. Zinc plating is a process of coating basic steel with zinc to prevent rust and improve durability. Galvanized steel is widely used in automobile exterior panels, and steel produced by Altamila works is supplied to automobile manufacturers such as Volkswagen, General Motors, Chrysler and Kia, as well as manufacturers in the southern United States. In 2011, POSCO will increase its production in Mexico to 800,000 tons a year to meet the growing demand of Latin America's largest automobile manufacturing base.